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Infant adiposity following a randomised controlled trial of a behavioural intervention in obese pregnancy

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Nashita Patel, K M Godfrey, D Pasupathy, J Levin, A C Flynn, L Hayes, A L Briley, R Bell, D A Lawlor, E Oteng-Ntim, S M Nelson, S C Robson, N Sattar, C Singh, J Wardle, S White, P T Seed, L Poston

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Early online date20 Feb 2017
Accepted/In press31 Jan 2017
E-pub ahead of print20 Feb 2017
Published20 Feb 2017

King's Authors


OBJECTIVE: Randomised controlled trials are required to address causality in the reported associations between maternal influences and offspring adiposity. The aim of this study was to determine whether an antenatal lifestyle intervention in obese pregnant women associated with improved maternal diet and reduced gestational weight gain leads to a reduction in infant adiposity and sustained improvements in maternal lifestyle behaviours at 6 months postpartum.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We conducted a planned postnatal follow up of a randomised controlled trial (UPBEAT) of a complex behavioural intervention targeting maternal diet (glycemic load and saturated fat intake) and physical activity in 1555 obese pregnant women. The main outcome measure was infant adiposity, assessed by subscapular and triceps skinfold thicknesses. Maternal diet and physical activity, indices of the familial lifestyle environment, were assessed by questionnaire.

RESULTS: 698 (45.9%) infants (342 intervention, 356 standard antenatal care) were followed up at mean age 5.92 months. There was no difference in triceps skinfold thickness z-scores between the intervention vs standard care arms (difference -0.14 s.d., 95% CI -0.38 to 0.10, P=0.246), but subscapular skinfold thickness z-score was 0.26 s.d. (-0.49 to -0.02; P=0.03) lower in the intervention arm. Maternal dietary glycemic load (-35.34; -48.0 to -22.67; P<0.001) and saturated fat intake (-1.93% energy; -2.64 to -1.22; P<0.001) were reduced in the intervention arm at 6 months postpartum. Causal mediation analysis suggested that lower infant subscapular skinfold thickness was mediated by changes in antenatal maternal diet and gestational weight gain rather than postnatal diet.

CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence from follow-up of a randomised controlled trial that a maternal behavioural intervention in obese pregnant women has the potential to reduce infant adiposity and to produce a sustained improvement in maternal diet at 6 months postpartum.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 20 February 2017. doi:10.1038/ijo.2017.44.

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